I hate to admit that I’m a Delhi-basher. Despite it being the city where I’ve grown up, where the majority of my friends and family reside, and where I’ve had some of the best times of my life, I’m prone to making flippant remarks about the city and its culture. The roads are too congested, the politics are dirty, the people are uncouth, the autos never run by meter, the summers are stifling, the winters are foggy, the pollution is cloying, and every time I hear that proud Delhi-patriot’s refrain, Dilli hain dilwalon ki, my eyes involuntarily roll in their sockets. For years, I’ve thought that Delhi’s only redeeming quality is its proximity to the Himalayas, which allows me to disappear into the mountainside on short notice. For me, it was a city saved by association.

This past month though, I’ve been made to eat my words, and perhaps even acknowledge a grain of truth in that damn ‘dilwalon ki’ maxim.

When the Friendicoes campaign hit social media networks, the shelter was a hair’s breadth from closure with a combined debt of INR 82 lakhs and mounting. The campaign was meant to simply give us a lifejacket to keep afloat, and the team didn’t consider for even a moment that Delhi would instead hand us a raft. But here we are, some weeks down the line, reeling under the unforeseen demonstration of goodwill and heart that the city has shown its oldest animal shelter, and all in its care.

Friendicoes_thank_you_article A Heartfelt Thank You from All the Animals at Friendicoes

There are so very many people we have to thank, so let this be {an undoubtedly inadequate} note of gratitude to the ones without whom Friendicoes could never have orchestrated this miracle. The wonderful Bitgiving team shaped our crowdfunding campaign that met its initial target of INR 20 lakhs in exactly two days, its extension goal of INR 40 lakhs in three weeks, and that is still running to meet a further stretched target of 60 lakhs; and the team at Ketto who stepped in to help us receive support from our friends abroad. The crew at Blackticket Films that planned the entire campaign and created snappy videos that have been viewed and loved by people from across the globe. The folks at Zorba, Summer House Café, the Tabula Beach Café, Select Citywalk, Strikers, and Qla who have independently organised and hosted {or will be hosting} events to raise funds for the cause. The young adults from Delhi University, Amity University, and students from different schools in Delhi/Gurgaon who have relentlessly networked for us. Then, of course, there are the incredible individuals who started their own crowdfunding campaigns for Friendicoes on Ketto and Milaap, those who started petitions urging the MCD to release the funds that are owed to us, and those who promoted Friendicoes, its mission and its struggles, via media and social media.

Ultimately though, the biggest thank you goes to the faceless hundreds who stepped up to the plate, and dipped or dove into their bank accounts to fund a shelter that they may never have visited, or may even have been disappointed with in the past. Their commitment to keeping Friendicoes going is born of nothing but unadulterated compassion for the abused, sick, starving, orphaned and injured animals that the shelter provides solace to.

Friendicoes isn’t out of the woods yet, not by a long haul. The funds raised, in all about 65 lakhs as of now, are only enough to clear part of the existing debts. To pay off all outstanding debts, expand, improve and flourish, your support needs to be constant; we want to be friends for life.

For campaign updates, follow Friendicoes Facebook Page here.

To contribute to the Bitgiving campaign from India, go here.

To contribute to the Ketto campaign from abroad, go here.

PS: I know you’re thinking about the Dalmatians pictured on top. Meet Pongo and Perdi. Friendicoes rescued them from a heartless breeder who had nearly done them in. When they arrived they had jaundice, maggot wounds, eye infections, were severely malnourished, and Perdi’s uterus was filled with pus, a fall-out of excessive breeding. It took six months of relentless medical attention to bring them back to health. And a great family finally adopted them. Your donations allow the shelter to meet the not inconsiderable expenses needed to help countless dogs like Pongo and Perdi who find themselves lost, bewildered and hurt, at our doorstep.


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